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April 20, 10

NEWS / Bergen County Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing $128,000 from Cosmetology School in Fort Lee

TRENTON - Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a Bergen County man pleaded guilty today to stealing $128,000 from the cosmetology school that employed him.

According to Director Taylor, William J. Reilley, 57, of Carlstadt, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Harry G. Carroll in Bergen County. The charge was contained in a Nov. 13, 2009 state grand jury indictment.

Judge Carroll scheduled sentencing for July 16. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Reilley be sentenced within the third-degree range, which is three to five years in prison. He also must pay full restitution to the victim.

In pleading guilty, Reilley admitted that between January 2004 and December 2006, he stole $128,209 from his employer, Onyx Beauty Academy in Fort Lee. Reilley was hired by the school’s owner, Yong Ok Shin, in 2004 to teach, assist with financial management, and submit applications for government loans and grants. Reilley – who also worked on a per diem basis for the state Division of Consumer Affairs as a proctor for cosmetology exams – led the owner to believe that his work for the state would make it easier for him to obtain government loans and grants for the school.

Reilley admitted that he obtained $128,209 in business checks and money orders from Shin by telling her that they were needed to pay creditors of Onyx Beauty Academy as well as fees for grant and loan applications. An investigation determined that, in reality, Reilley used the checks and money orders to pay personal expenses, including rent, about $25,000 in rental car fees, and $1,000 for a deposit on a catering hall for a family event. Reilley never obtained any loans or grants for Onyx Beauty Academy.

Deputy Attorney General Vincent J. Militello represented the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau at the guilty plea hearing. The investigation was conducted by Detective Sgt. Dustin Lesnever of the State Police Official Corruption Bureau and Deputy Attorney General Militello.




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